Prof. Dr. Kay Knöller

Isotope Geochemist/Hydrogeologist
Head of the  Isotop tracer group


Department Catchment Hydrology
Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Theodor-Lieser-Straße 4
D-06120 Halle, Germany

Tel: +49-341-6025-4444
Fax: +49-345-558 5449


Persönliche Bild

Research fields:

Tracer based analysis of dynamic water and nutrient travel time distributions in (sub)surface catchments across scales

Programming automated sampling devices for high-frequency isotope monitoring
Water age distributions at the Ilse River gauging station Hoppenstedt (Germany) modelled from high-frequency stable isotope data sets
  • Developing concepts and technologies for high-frequency isotope monitoring with high spatial resolution
  • Assessing the impact of hydrological extremes on water flow paths and travel time distributions in catchments
  • Investigating the relationship between (extreme) hydrological events and retention, mobilization and turnover of nutrients and pollutants 

Regional isotope patterns to model matter fluxes and flow dynamics in mesoscale river catchments

Contributions of major tributaries to the annual discharge and nitrate loads of the Bode River in Central Germany
Getting water samples for isotope analysis in the Erlauf catchment, Austria
  • Interpretation of spatial and temporal dynamics of discharge processes
  • Assessment of the catchment scale ecosystem potential for the occurrence of certain target processes (for example: denitrification or sulfate reduction)
  • Assessment of catchment scale matter sources and sinks

Integrating analysis of element cycles (C, N, S) and matter transformations in aquatic systems

Isotope-based conceptual model of the hydrodynamics in the metal mining region of Mansfeld, Germany
Impacts of acid mine drainage at an abandoned iron mine in Zimbabwe
Systems in focus:

(a) Lignite and metal mining landscapes facing a severe diffuse contamination of the aquatic system with inorganic contaminants such as acid mine drainage and heavy metals,

(b) Porous aquifers used for drinking water production and affected by the diffuse impact of agricultural land use, and

(c) Porous, near surface aquifers contaminated with a variety of petroleum hydrocarbons from single or multiple point sources.

  • Delineation of inorganic contaminant sources,
  • Identification of pathways and mechanisms of inorganic contaminations
  • Assessment of the potential of aquifer systems for a natural attenuation of both inorganic and organic contaminations

Qualitative and quantitative assessment of the interaction between groundwater and surface water bodies

Pore water sampler for high-resolution micro-scale isotope monitoring
Water isotope profiles in lake sediments of a mining lake in the Lusatian mining district in Germany

  • Quantification of large scale groundwater/surface water exchange (isotope balance of lakes)
  • Development of methods for a high resolution-micro scale assessment of groundwater/surface water interaction
  • Combination of stable isotope with further tracer methods, especially with techniques aiming at the on-site detection of naturally occurring radioactive tracers (e.g. 222Rn)